By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Presidency and opposition political leaders are set to confront one another on Monday in Washington DC at a debate on the administration’s sincerity towards free and fair elections next year.
Presidency officials are led by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Communications, Dr. Doyin Okupe, while Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the spokesman of the country’s major opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, is to articulate issues from the perspective of the opposition. Both teams arrived Washington D.C for the public square-up at the weekend.
Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State and Gabriel Suswam of Benue State are also to feature at the forum.
The presence of the national chairman of the ruling party, Alhaji Adamu Muazu could not be confirmed despite an invitation to him.
The forum on the road map to Nigeria’s decisive 2015 round of elections is organized by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, CSIS, a non-for profit think-tank based in the United Staes capital.
The CSIS has had two sessions on Nigeria this year as part of its efforts in consolidating democracy in Nigeria.
Last January, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Atthairu Jega was at the head of a policy forum on plans towards the 2015 elections.
A month ago, the majority of the country’s governors from the north were at another forum focused on addressing the state of insecurity fanned by the Islamic Boko Haram insurgency in the region.
An American think-tank raised indignation in Nigeria few years ago when it predicted that the country would fall into instability and cease to exist as an entity by 2015. That was before the rage of crisis inspired by Boko Haram.
The session, however, is directed at drawing assurances from policy makers in the Nigeria government and opposition leaders towards a common agenda that would ensure a free and fair election in 2015 acceptable to all stakeholders.